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Desperate Housewives Africa: Not the Trainwreck I Expected It to Be. But Only Time Will Tell!

Article by Wangechi Maina
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Posted: May 08, 2015  
TV

The African version of the America hit drama series Desperate Housewives landed on the continent on the last day of April 2015. The show is set in Nigeria and features a pan-African cast that includes our very own Kenyan actress Nini Wacera. So that Thursday 11 pm found me indoors and awake, ready to watch the show that had been promoted as having an African touch though based on the American series.

Desperate Housewives Africa has the exact same storyline, complete with a verbatim script and similar score, as its American predecessor. It’s like waving a magic wand at your TV screen and turning the entire cast from white to black. Granted, the show has a few unique tweaks:

Unlike the U.S. version which was set in Wisteria Lane, the events on DHW Africa unfold in Hibiscus Lane though the street has the same familiar picturesque look as on DHS U.S: beautiful mansions; paved roads and walk ways; well-manicured lawns; and an overall serene environment.

While Mary Alice shot herself in DHW U.S., Rume Bello the Mary Alice of the African version hang herself.

Gabrielle Solis was having an affair with her gardener but on this show, Kiki Obi on whose character she’s based is doing the dirty with her personal trainer.

DHW Africa opens up to a scene with obviously fake blood, they didn’t put any effort with that! And then the narration begins. In Desperate Housewives, the wheels are set in motion by the suicide of one of the wives who then goes on to narrate the show. TV personality Dolapo Oni bears this huge task in her role as Rume. Her voice is just…meh! And her narration too rushed.

Her role isn’t the only one that is poorly cast. But the men of DHW Africa are the most affected. The acting in this show is its biggest downfall. The entire casting seems all wrong with the exception of Michelle Dede who as Tari Gambiadi is portraying Susan Meyer. She’s gets her character nailed down, including her clumsiness.

The most annoying thing about DHW Africa is the product endorsement. It’s not enough that it goes on a commercial break every few minutes but they also manage to include products from sponsoring brands into those few minutes. Desperate Housewives Africa’s main sponsors are Airtel, Snapp and Oral B.

Two episodes in, we have already seen a father return home from a business trip with Airtel branded goodies and the ladies catching up over Snapp. I’m sure a bathroom scene is in the pipeline, where an Oral B toothbrush will make a cameo.

The most ‘African’ thing about this version of Desperate Housewives so far is the strange use of an ankara/kitenge fabric with the exact same fabric and print to make the entire main cast’s outfits for Rumi’s funeral. The decor of most homes in this show is also ‘African’.

Most DHW Africa actors are Nigerian, they slang used is Nigerian and references made are to Nigerian locations, food and products. Desperate Housewives Africa is really Desperate Housewives Nigeria but in the words of one of my colleagues- not the trainwreck I expected it to be. But only time will tell.

Desperate Housewives Africa airs on EbonyLife TV on DStv channel 165 every Thursday at 23:00 CAT.

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